With the theme for this year’s International Day of Forests (21 March) all about ‘Forests and Health’, we take a look at why healthy forests are vital for all aspects of a healthy planet.
We caught up with our Director Helen Bentley-Fox. Helen explains the importance of well managed woodlands and high-quality wood and biomass fuels.
The Woodsure scheme covers every stage from the harvesting of timber, the selection of raw materials, and post timber processing. When sourcing timber, the Woodsure scheme ensures it is of right quality and is a product users and suppliers can trust.
This International Day of Forests, we want to raise awareness around why well managed woodlands are not only better for the environment, but also for our health and wellbeing. With the UK’s target of planting 30,000 hectares per year by the end of this Parliament, the benefits forests give us are endless, from stabilising the soil and providing a rich habitat for all manner of important organisms, through to purifying the water we drink and cleaning the air we breathe. As such, we must work hard to ensure that our woodlands are well managed and resilient.
When trees are planted, they are planted close together to encourage growth, act as a nursery crop, and is usually a mix of trees. Once established it is essential to thin/manage the small trees to allow the wood to breathe, providing room for the growth of stronger trees. This process of removing individual trees from a forest to reduce the woodland density not only allows the removal of poorer quality trees, but also focuses on the growth of the stronger remaining trees, improving the quality of their timber and improving structure and enhancing biodiversity.
While we support the necessity for more trees, we also recognise the need for correct and proper management and maintenance to ensure the ecological, economic, social and health benefits are not adversely affected. Well planned and managed woodlands improve the overall health of the woodland, making it more resilient to climate change and pests and diseases. Not only that, but healthy forests that are accessible to everyone, also contribute to the cognitive benefits of our health.
We are committed to continuing to work closely with producers and suppliers to achieve the highest standards of wood fuel production throughout the UK. At Woodsure, all wood fuel is accredited to ISO17025 in our UKAS-accredited lab. In addition to testing and assessment, we also provide technical and regulatory support keeping the industry up to date on standards.
Woodsure is the UK’s only wood fuel quality assurance scheme, promoting to raise awareness of the quality of wood fuel, the Woodsure certification scheme and its logo shows wood fuel users the suppliers and products they can trust.